About the Author
Dr. Veerle Baekelandt obtained a Master of Romance Languages, Master of Biology, and a PhD in Biology at the Katholieke Universiteit (KU) Leuven. She received a Frank Boas Fulbright scholarship for graduate study at Harvard University and became a research fellow in the Laboratory for Neuroscience Research headed by Dr. Larry Benowitz, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston (1992-1993). Her post-doctoral fellowship looked at gene therapy for neurodegenerative diseases, which became the cornerstone of her own research group.She was appointed Assistant Professor at the KU Leuven in 2003 and in 2007, as full-time Research Professor (BOF-ZAP). She is now Head of the Laboratory for Neurobiology and Gene Therapy. Her research focuses on disease modeling and therapy for Parkinson's disease using viral vectors in cell culture and in vivo. The underlying rationale is that the generation of more relevant models in cells and in pre-clinical model brain will lead to a better insight into the molecular pathogenesis of PD and to the development of new therapeutic strategies and drugs. Dr. Evy Lobbestael obtained her Master's degree in biomedical sciences in the Faculty of Medicine at the KU Leuven. She completed her PhD training in the laboratory for Neurobiology and Gene Therapy at the KU Leuven under the supervision of Prof. Baekelandt, after obtaining a PhD scholarship from the Research Foundation Flanders. Her doctoral research focused on the function and dysfunction of the Parkinson's disease-linked gene LRRK2. Besides the development of multiple tools to study LRRK2 including anti-LRRK2 antibodies, LRRK2-encoding lentiviral vectors, and cell lines, she identified protein phosphatase 1 as a physiological regulator of cellular LRRK2 phosphorylation. Currently, she continues her LRRK2 research as a post-doc with a focus on LRRK2 signaling.